ARACHNOPHOBIA. 1990. DIRECTED BY FRANK MARSHALL. STARRING JEFF DANIELS, HARLEY JANE KOZAK, JULIAN SANDS AND JOHN GOODMAN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Eeuw. I should not have watched this film. It’s not that it’s not a good entertaining horror comedy film, because it is. It’s just that I spent the rest of the night after watching it checking for killer spiders everywhere I went in the house. In the shower, under my bed, under my bedlinen, even in the toilet when I needed to pee. Well, especially in the toilet. I mean, that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable, isn’t it…?
A fresh-faced Jeff Daniels plays Ross Jennings, a city doctor who uproots his family to go and live in the small American town of Canaima, a place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. You know the kind of town I mean.
What Dr. Jennings doesn’t know is that it’s a bad time to be moving to Canaima. An especially dangerous species of poisonous spider is on the loose in the unsuspecting backwater, having hitched a lift there from darkest Venezuela in the coffin of one of its victims. This is bad news for Dr. Jennings in particular, as he’s had a lifelong fear of spiders ever since his cradle days.
The good citizens of Canaima start dying off when the fast-multiplying spiders start spreading out and exploring their new surroundings. When it is discovered that their Queen- eugh! I get the shivers just typing that- and her nest- eugh again!- are in fact located in poor old Dr. Jennings’s house, that’s when the fun and games really start.
And guess whom it’s ultimately up to to save Canaima from the attack of the killer spiders…? Yep, you guessed it. In an ironic twist of fate, it’s up to the one man who’s actually deadly afraid of the eight-legged creatures, good old Dr. Jennings.
Down in his mouldy old basement, Ross battles it out with the Queen and her foot-soldiers in a deathly game of cat-and-mouse. Well, it’s not so much cat-and-mouse as man-and-spider, or even man-and-arachnid if you want to get all technical about it.
He is forced to face up to his childhood phobia and look it squarely in its eight googly eyes. Does it have eight eyes, or does it in fact have more…? Eugh, I feel faint. Does Ross come out on top, or does his lifelong fear get the better of him? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
John Goodman is both excellent and hilarious as Delbert McClintock, the kick-ass town exterminator. Julian Sands makes a good fist of portraying posh pony-tailed Englishman Dr. James Atherton, the spider expert at least partially responsible for bringing the killer spiders to Canaima.
There are a few good funny moments in the film, like when the guy in charge of the morgue is wandering around in the middle of an autopsy chattering cheerfully and munching crisps while Professor Atherton’s assistant is turning green with revulsion.
The action scenes are good too and the creature special effects are spot-on. They made me sick, haha. As I said earlier, my only beef with the film was the spiders. Like most women, I’m not a big fan of spiders. Especially when their legs are all furry and they have, like, those big, pulsating, bulbous baby sacs stuck to them which are about to burst and spew forth a whole new generation of the spindly-legged critters… Eeek…
Oh s**t, I feel sick again. I have to go now and renew my acquaintance with the inside of my loo. Do be kind enough to let me know how you enjoy this charmingly delightful film…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: